Outstanding women recognized in Burlington County

More than 11 of them will be honored in October

Eleven Burlington County women will be recognized for their leadership and service next month during the 2021 Outstanding Women of Burlington County Awards reception. 

“The reception is always such a powerful and moving night,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson, via email. “It is impossible to attend this event and not feel inspired by the women who are being recognized. They share the same dedication to putting others’ needs before their own, and really have a compassionate heart in wanting to mentor others.”

Award recipients are selected by a panel of advisory council members from several areas of service. This was the first year in which awards were given for the categories of first responder and front-line workers, to recognize those who have helped protect the community from COVID.

This year’s honorees in the following categories are: Volunteerism, Fozia Janjua, Mount Laurel resident and founder of Community South Jersey and Philadelphia (Community SJP); Mentorship, Helen Barsocchi, Medford resident and board member/coach for United Girls’ Softball Association; Law/Law enforcement, Sally Landrum, Willingboro Police Community Engagement Officer; Health, Holly Funkhouser Cucuzzella, Burlington County Health Officer; Government, Carol Murphy, state assemblywoman; Front-line Worker, Phyllis Worrell, Healthcare Coordinator for Burlington County OEM and Emergency Management Coordinator for Virtua Health; First Responder, Lori Engler, Bordentown EMT/Firefighter; Education, Amanda Cassel, assistant principal and supervisor of instruction at Lenape High School; Diversity and Inclusion, Saima Bhutta, Moorestown resident and activist; Corporate Leadership, Kathleen Horton, chief financial officer for the Food Bank of South Jersey; and Community Service,  Shannon Gibson, program director at Oaks Integrated Care. 

In addition to honoring outstanding women, the reception is also about the next generation of leaders. The advisory council awards three scholarships to female high-school graduates who have demonstrated leadership for equity; excellence in scholastics; interest in women’s issues;  and interest in pursuing a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. 

This year’s scholarship winners are Skylar Brotz of Delran High School, Maya Tanikawa-Brown of Northern Burlington County Regional High School and Makayla Scott of the Burlington County Institute of Technology-Westampton. 

Hopson said showing younger generations how women serve in leadership roles sends the message that “if they work hard to achieve their dreams, they can do anything.” 

“These three young women are shining examples,” Commissioner Linda Hynes, a liaison to the advisory council, said about the scholarship winners in a press release. “They have excelled in academics, activism and leadership, and will help carry on our legacy of outstanding women.”

The award program will feature remarks from county commissioners and special guests. An award-winner video will be played and each woman will receive a plaque. 

Tickets for the awards reception are $75 and are now available. They can be purchased online at https://outstandingwomenburlco2021.eventbrite.com